Food Is Not Your Enemy


Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions

Any of you who regularly read my blog know by now that when I post a recipe, I tend to intro it by saying that it’s one of my favorites and my kids love it too. So I won’t say that anymore–just assume that if you see a recipe on “Food Is Not Your Enemy,” it’s one I love, one that’s in regular rotation in my household, and one that I recommend to my clients.

That said, here’s the latest. This dish is such a great way to begin a relationship with quinoa if you’ve never had it before.

 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine sieve

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste

Salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds

3 cups finely sliced spinach leaves

1/4 pound feta cheese, finely diced or crumbled

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

Heal the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg.

Serves 4.

(Recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison)

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Green Lentils and Spinach With Hard-Cooked Eggs and Toast

Here’s another dish I make regularly in my house, often at the request of my kids.

Serves 4.

1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed

Salt and freshly milled pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 bunch spinach, leaves only, cut into 1-inch strips

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a press

4 large thin slices toast made from country bread

2 hard-boiled eggs

Put the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan with water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon each olive oil and butter in a wide skillet over high heat. Add the onions and saute until they’re golden, about 10 minutes. Set them aside and add the remaining butter to the pan. Add the spinach, garlic, and a few pinches salt and cook until wilted.

Add the lentils to the pan with the spinach along with a little of the broth and an extra tad of butter if you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the toast and cut it into triangles. Peel and chop the eggs. Spoon the lentils into the middle of each plate. Cover with the onions and then the chopped egg. Add pepper and surround with the toasts.

(Recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison)



Leafy Greens: Safe or Scary?

Popeye and his spinach. George H.W. Bush and his (hatred of) broccoli. Mom leaning over you and admonishing, “Eat your greens!” The leafy green vegetables we’re told more and more often to eat by the shovelful evoke strong feelings or memories for many of us. But are all greens as healthy as they’ve been made out to be? Check out my latest “Safe or Scary?” column over at AOL’s ParentDish to find out.